Does anyone else get school holiday fatigue? I find that school holidays, especially the long haul 6 week Summer ones, are split into three distinct sectors:
Pre-Christmas: This is the week before Christmas where Mum is madly buying up every single piece of crap no one needs in order to ensure everyone has the same number of pressies. Mum is stressed. No one else is. Dad is simply enjoying that Mum’s too busy to worry that he’s stretching the lawn mowing out to another day and spending as much time on the sofa as possible watching cricket. When he’s not doing that he’s giving Mum a look of bewilderment as she screams at the kids to get ready for the next Christmas function she’s organized for them to go to. When they arrive at the 47th Christmas function for the week, Dad realizes beer is served and his favourite Dad’s from school are in attendance. Before you know it he’s unexpectedly having a great time and yelling across the BBQ “You’re driving!”. The kids are in their element in these first couple of weeks. The big guy in the red suit is coming, Mum still has a hotline to the North Pole and therefore EVERYONE is on their best behavior for fear that potatoes may replace gifts. Overall everyone is happy, or drunk.
Post Christmas and New Year: Mum is over shopping, she’s over wrapping and she’s generally over housework. Leftovers are now in their 4th day and ham is becoming a brekkie, lunch and dinner staple. Mum is screaming at anyone who will listen and words like “clutter”, “pick up your toys”, keep the parts together or I will throw them out” and “unnecessary” enter her vocabulary on a regular basis. Mum also wants to start a petition to local councils nationwide to ensure every household in Australia is entitled to three recycling pick ups three days in a row after Christmas. The lawns have been mowed so according to Dad, he’s off duty till the cricket is over. He doesn’t understand what all the cleaning fuss is about expecially given that cricket is not a want, it’s an entitlement and put simply, he’s Un-Australian if he don’t commit to the full test (Hot Tip: if they insist on parking themselves in front of the cricket for 5 days, put the Christmas Tree in front of them to dismantle whilst they watch). Mum starts packing for the all important holiday where the entire family will all go away and have a lovely time. Bedtime is getting later each night and neither Mum or Dad cares. Everyone eats chocolate ALL the time. The kids are still on fairly good behavior because toys are still new, exciting and a great distraction and holiday mode has only just set in. The Family go away on holidays and return refreshed but Mum returns feeling like the Good Year Blimp who did a lot of dishes.
The last bit: This is where the fatigue sets in. 80% of the Christmas toys are still in the house and don’t have a place because Mum didn’t expect every child to receive 40,000 gifts in addition to the unnecessary crap she bought. The wrapping and packaging is still there too because it’s taken the last two weeks just to get rid of the box the stupid trampoline came in. The remaining 20% of toys have broken, kicked or hit over into the neighbours house, left at the holiday place or confiscated thanks to fights and last minute decisions that perhaps swords for boys weren’t a great idea. Mum has lost track of the days (is it Monday or Friday?) and the bills for Christmas, holidays and the general spend-a-thon start coming in. With this impeccable timing of having no money left, she realizes that she needs to fork out more money than you would spend for ½ a years worth of groceries on new school shoes for the little cherubs. Then the shops run out of Bostik glue (will UHU do?) and the local music shop no longer stocks the type of recorder you’re supposed to buy on the school requisites list! There is no such thing as bedtime anymore, “sleep where you fall” becomes the new bed time. Dad mows the lawns again, he thinks he’s a hero. He wakes Mum each morning as he leaves for work with a lovely tone of “ARE. YOU. EVER. GOING. TO. WAKE. UP. AND. FEED. THESE. KIDS”. Meantime, the three year old has managed to learn how to make everyone brekkie and you are met at 8:30am with the beautiful toneful whinge of “I’m Bored”. Mum then launches into a tirade which mixes up words like spoilt, ridiculous, Ethiopians (well that’s what our parents used to say wasn’t it?), Phillipines and Tsunami and “you can’t possibly be bored”. The kids have seen every kids movie on the planet and Google now opens your browers to the “Free Entertainment for Kids” page before you type anything in. You start counting down the days till school goes back.
Thank goodness for good friends, parks and beaches is all I can say!